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Back to The Silverdale Viking Silver Hoard

Arm-Rings

The Silverdale Hoard: Arm-Ring Nest (image/jpeg)

The Silverdale Hoard contains a group of ten complete and many fragments of decorated arm-rings. Three of the complete examples were put together in a 'nest' (see LANMS.2013.32.4-6). Perhaps this was for space saving, easy storage or there may have been some other significance to the grouping. Certainly the decorative details of the outer ring justifies the comment from the expert at the British Museum that the nature of the arm-rings 'far exceeds the quality of most Viking silver to have appeared on the market in recent years. The five complete bracelets are aesthetically appealing, indeed stunning, objects.'

Designs found on the arm-rings show a fusion of decorative styles that provides hard evidence of the international nature of Viking society and shows the craftsmen's skills in assimilating influences from as far afield as Ireland, Scandinavia and the Frankish world. Objects from a previous usage like the Russian neck ring made from Islamic coins have been adapted and reused by the Vikings in terms of being twisted into arm rings and decorated with Viking motifs with new Viking cast terminals (1).

Unlike the coins, ingots and hacksilver, five of the larger complete arm-rings in the Silverdale Viking Hoard were not held inside the lead container; they were placed in the ground underneath. The question is ... is this significant to our understanding of the hoard and does it shed light on the reasons for the burial of this assemblage? This will be considered during our research and conservation phase.

Image Copyright The Trustees of The British Museum

Footnotes:-

1. J. Graham-Campbell, 1980, Viking Artefacts, A select catalogue, London, no. 331; S. Fuglesang and D.M. Wilson (eds.), 2006, The Hoen Hoard: a Viking gold treasure of the ninth century, Det norske institutt i Roma, 22, 74-6). (Ager & Williams 2011).